Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, March 31, 2005

I Wonder If They'll Bring This Up in 2008...

A Palestinian scholar of the Koran predicts the US will cease to exist in 2007. The opening paragraphs:

A thorough analysis of the Koran reveals that the US will cease to exist in the year 2007, according to research published by Palestinian scholar Ziad Silwadi.
The study, which has caught the attention of millions of Muslims worldwide, is based on in-depth interpretations of various verses in the Koran. It predicts that the US will be hit by a tsunami larger than that which recently struck southeast Asia.
"The tsunami waves are a minor rehearsal in comparison with what awaits the US in 2007," the researcher concluded in his study. "The Holy Koran warns against the Omnipotent Allah's force. A great sin will cause a huge flood in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans."

I'm not too worried...

I Guess She Has a Book Coming Out

Thirty three years later, Jane Fonda decides that posing with the armed forces of America's enemies wasn't such a good idea after all. I'm sure this will keep all potential protesters away from her book signings -- or not...

USS Asheville Returns From Deployment

USS Asheville (SSN-758) (from hyperlink, click on USS Asheville) will return from a Western Pacific deployment to her homeport of San Diego tomorrow. This is significant to me because 1) the last big project I had on active duty was helping get her ready for deployment, and 2) her CO is one of my former shipmates from the Topeka. Welcome home, and BZ on a job well done!

Update 1643 04 April: A cool picture of Asheville pulling into port is found at the official Navy website. The text that goes along with the picture says the crew is "manning the rails", but actually they're just standing around topside like submariners always do on the maneuvering watch.

Not Quite Following the Logic...

Everyone in Connecticut seems really worried about the upcoming BRAC round. Today, Sen. Dodd of Connecticut released a letter that seems to say that Subase New London should stay open because of the growing Chinese submarine threat. While I agree that it'd be nice if the submarine force were spared any cuts, I'm not sure that's the argument I'd use; it seems like saying that the Chinese threat is most urgent could be taken as a call to move more submarine assets to the West Coast, and if a base needs to be closed, it should be an East Coast base. Since King's Bay (the East Coast Trident base) won't close (we need two) and Norfolk definitely won't close, that leaves Groton as the only operational East Coast base on the chopping block. My guess: the submarine force's contribution to base closing will be Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which results in more work for Electric Boat (a subsidiary of General Dynamics). Everyone wins! (Portsmouth kinda sucks, IMHO. It's cold, and guys on the boats that go for overhaul have to PCS there, which is a major pain in the ass.)

Going deep...

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

You Are From California If...

Being that I'm still adjusting to not living in California, I was happy to get this from one of my friends still in the Golden State...

1. Your coworker has 8 body piercings and none are visible.
2. You make over $300,000 and still can't afford a house.
3. You take a bus and are shocked at two people carrying on a conversation in English.
4. Your child's 3rd-grade teacher has purple hair, a nose ring, and is named Flower.
5. You can't remember . . . . . is pot illegal?
6. You've been to a baby shower that has two mothers and a sperm donor.
7. You have a very strong opinion about where your coffee beans are grown, and you can taste the difference between Sumatran and Ethiopian
8. You can't remember . . . is pot illegal?
9. A really great parking space can totally move you to tears.
10. Gas costs $1.00 per gallon more than anywhere else in the U.S.
11. Unlike back home, the guy at 8:30 am at Starbucks wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses who looks like George Clooney really IS George Clooney.
12. Your car insurance costs as much as your house payment.
13. You can't remember . . . .is pot illegal?
14. It's barely sprinkling rain and there's a report on every news station: "STORM WATCH."
15. You pass an elementary school playground and the children are all busy with their cells or pagers.
16. It's barely sprinkling rain outside, so you leave for work an hour early to avoid all the weather-related accidents.
17. HEY!!!! Is pot illegal????
18. Both you AND your dog have therapists.
19. The Terminator is your governor.
20. If you drive legally, they take your driver's license. If you are here illegally, they want to give you one.

Submarines on Cable TV

It looks like the next two Thursdays (during the morning and afternoon, at least) are Submarine Days on the History Channel; here are the schedules for March 31 and April 7. This is to be expected, since April is the Submarine Force's birthday month. On April 24th, Sharks of Steel will be on The Discovery Channel; if you watch closely, and don't blink, you can actually see me in that one as a JO on the Topeka...

Off topic: As I was looking for a decent link for Sharks of Steel that didn't look like I was selling something (couldn't find one) I did run across these great submarine pictures from VADM (Ret) Yogi Kaufman. He had stopped by to visit us on the Topeka after the documentary was filmed and showed us these shots...

Restoring 688 Refueling Budget Funds

(Intel Source: The Sub Report) Here's a good article from The Heritage Foundation on why Congress should restore funding to refuel two 688s in the next budget. While I think the actual cost of an ERO (Engineering Refueling Overhaul) is a little more than the $200M quoted in the article (although the price seems to be going down), it still makes some good points. My guess: Funding will be restored for one boat to make up for the possible loss of the San Francisco, unless they make a decision to keep her before the budget is voted on.

Ahhhhh! Too Cute...

(Intel Source: Martini's BBS) I just can not get enough of polar bear and submarine photos...

Ignorant "Strategy Page" Story on San Fran

(Intel source: Martini's BBS) Here's another article in a semi-major web publication that really torques me off. (It doesn't torque me as much as the idiotic articles at by Lt. Raymond Perry, USN (Ret), which I discussed here and here; he never did respond to me, btw.) Here's some of what James Dunnigan at Strategy Page has to say about the San Francisco grounding in an article outrageously titled "USS San Francisco Heros (sic) and Villians":

"...The lack of courts martial indicates that the navy didn’t feel it had strong enough evidence for that approach, which is more like a jury trial, and demands more compelling evidence. The non-judicial punishment hurts, but does not destroy, the career of a submariner. This is because the navy has a hard time recruiting qualified people for this kind of work. The accused sailors could have asked for a court martial, but apparently all were convinced that taking the non-judicial punishment would get the matter behind them with a minimum of fuss and penalty. The charges in the non-judicial hearings were of the “you should have seen this coming” and “been more cautious” variety. Anyone who knows anything about nuclear submarines, and their crews, knows that these are the most cautious and deliberate sailors in the fleet..."

Other than the asshattedness of the title, I'm surprised that someone who purports to know about the military would make such an obvious mis-statement of fact in saying that the Sailors could have asked for a court martial. From Art. 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice:

(a) Under such regulations as the President may prescribe, and under such additional regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary concerned, limitations may be placed on the powers granted by this article with respect to the kind and amount of punishment authorized, the categories of commanding officers and warrant officers exercising command authorized to exercise those powers, the applicability of this article to an accused who demands trial by court-martial, and the kinds of courts-martial to which the case may be referred upon such a demand. However, except in the case of a member attached to or embarked in a vessel, punishment may not be imposed upon any member of the armed forces under this article if the member has, before the imposition of such punishment, demanded trial by court-martial in lieu of such punishment.

The San Francisco crewmen were all attached to a vessel, and therefore were not eligible to request a court martial; even if they had, I'm sure the Navy would have denied it. Also, the claim that "the non-judicial punishment hurts, but does not destroy, the career of a submariner." Bullshit! Part of the NJP for the ANAV was apparently the removal of his NEC, which effectively removes him from submarines, and the NJP essentially keeps anyone from getting promoted within the Chief ranks for five years. For the officers, any black mark is enough to keep you from screening for the next level of responsibility, and with the "up or out" policies, this essentially ends their submarine career. I suppose that they could have a career in the Navy outside of submarines, though...

If you'd like, you can comment on Dunnigan's story here...

Staying at PD...

Update 1952 31 March: They've removed the portion of the article about the Sailors being able to request court martial, so the article is now factually more accurate.

Update 2149 31 March: Submandave shares the E-mail he sent to the author of the piece linked above.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

You Can't Make Up Stuff Like This

Still no useful tabs on Blogger, so I'm doing this all with html tags; bear with me if it doesn't work (although it did work on the post below.) The latest issue of Undersea Warfare has a picture (bottom of page) of one of my shipmates on the Topeka, who's now XO on one of the USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN-730)crews. This got me to thinking of another JO I served with on Topeka who has probably finished up his XO tour by now, and a sea story he once told. This one is so out there that I figured no one could make it up. He was doing a split JO tour on Topeka, so he had started off on another boat that had been decommissioned. Here's his story:
"This is a no sh*tter. Our last underway, I got relieved as evening watch Engineering Officer of the Watch at midnight, and went to find the off-going OOD. We were going to wake the CO to give him our relief report, when the OOD says he's got an idea. We dress up in anti-C's, Mk V gas masks, and grab two battle lanterns. We quietly go into the COs stateroom, shine the lights in his face, and scream, 'My God, we found one alive!' He chewed our ass, but seeing the look on his face before he realized it wasn't his worst nightmare coming true was totally worth it."

Note: Although this is listed as being published at 2:46pm, I'm actually getting it onto the web site at 5:53pm MST because the Blogger server bites...

New Undersea Warfare Out

Over at the Chinfo website, the latest issue of Undersea Warfare magazine is out. Right now Blogger isn't showing any of my useful editing tabs, but if I know html well enough you'll be able to look at the latest issue by clicking here.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Around the 'Net

Lubber's Line has an interesting post of the potential ramifications of the UN Law of the Sea Treaty on submarine operations.

Molten Eagle has some thoughts about potential problems with the current scientific "consensus" on global warming. I agree with him that many are leaping to conclusions here; if you only have a relatively small amount of data, a sine wave can look like a rapidly increasing function if you're starting at the right place.

Finally, an old shipmate of mine sent me a really bad joke:

After a long night of making love, he notices a photo of another man on her nightstand by the bed. He begins to worry.
"Is this your husband?" he nervously asks.
"No, silly," she replies, snuggling up to him.
"Your boyfriend, then?" he continues.
"No, not at all," she says, nibbling away at his ear.
"Is it your dad or your brother?" he inquires, hoping to be reassured.
"No, no, no!!!", she answers.
"Well, who is he, then?" he demands .
"That's me before the surgery."

Going deep...

More San Francisco Musings

Discussing the San Francisco grounding at my SubVets meeting today got me thinking about a couple of things. Now I haven’t seen anything official, but I’ve heard enough rumblings on some other boards that it sounds like one of the things they’re holding against the San Fran navigation team is that they didn’t get their movement order early enough. Here’s how it works: submarines get a message from their Operating Authority ordering them to get underway; this message includes their route, average speed, and any exercises they’re supposed to do on their trip. There’s a requirement that the boat receive this message a certain amount of time before the underway, which may not have happened in this situation. From what I’ve seen, and from what I know of the Sub Force, this “passes the smell test” as far as being something that they would come up with to blame the boat for.
Assuming this is true, I suppose the boat could have refused to get underway since they didn’t have their movement order in time. How do you think that would have gone down? Do you think the CO would have been recognized for his bravery in standing up for the letter of the law? Show of hands? I didn’t think so…
I don’t know how significant the problem of late-issued movement orders is now, but I can say that I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the times the movement messages to my boats didn’t reach us within the time limits. Did the Navy go back and find out how many such messages have arrived late at the various boats, and punish the navigation teams involved for not protesting? I would guess the answer to that would be “no”, and I wouldn’t expect the Sub Force to do that. To me, it’s just another example of the San Francisco crew getting punished for doing the same exact thing as every other boat in the fleet.

My First Subvets Meeting as a Retiree

Today, I opened my E-mail and found that I had been given an Editor's Choice award from The Sub Report, which is really appreciated. (I figured out how to put the icon up over on the right.) Next, I went to my first meeting of the Boise Base of United States Submarine Veterans, Inc. Those are a great bunch of guys -- some are WWII submarine veterans, who always have great stories to tell. I'm looking forward to doing more stuff with them; one of the things we decided on was having a couple meetings a year where we watch a submarine movie and sit around critiquing it. This got me thinking about my favorite submarine movies; here's what I came up with as I was driving home (I normally go for realism over other considerations):

1) Das Boot: The gold standard against which all other submarine movies are measured.
2) The Enemy Below: Probably the most realistic portrayal of WWII ASW
3) Operation Pacific: Collects most of the great submarine hero stories of WWII and makes it seem like they happened on one boat; John Wayne is the Captain.
4) Down Periscope: OK, so it's not realistic, but there are enough funny moments in there that only a submariner would understand that make it worthwhile (e.g. when the salty old Chief yells "DBF!" [Diesel Boats Forever!"] when the old diesel boat makes a move against a new nuclear boat).
5) Run Silent, Run Deep: The story really doesn't follow the plot of the book by Ned Beach, but it has Gable and Lancaster in top form...

8.2 Aftershock off Sumatra

According to the USGS, a magnitude 8.2 aftershock of the December earthquake in the Indian Ocean occurred about an hour ago off Sumatra.

Staying at PD...

Sunday, March 27, 2005

bothenook Finds Another Sub-Blogger

bothenook found another sub-blogger who's off to a good start. Rainman, at The Deck bLog, has a thought-provoking entry on one of my favorite Submarine Force heroes, CDR Dudley "Mush" Morton. Basically, Rainman's post discusses double standards regarding the consequences of wartime actions of winners and losers of the war; in this case, he compares a German U-Boat crew who were punished for massacring survivors of a torpedoed ship, while Morton was decorated for doing basically the same thing. (I think there are enough differences between the two situations, particularly that in Morton's case, the survivors were shooting back.) Rainman has the rest of the story, so feel free to join the discussion there.

Also, bothenook has more submarine memories...

Going deep...

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Indian Submarine Force

I promise that I'll eventually have a longer piece on the future of the Indian sub force, but for now here's some read-ahead material: plan to lease Akula SSNs from Russia hits snags, and U.S. and India agree for U.S. to provide India with DSRV (submarine rescue) services...

Staying at PD...

Subs... Not Just for Sea Control Missions Anymore

It looks like the Columbian drug cartels have figured out the benefits of submarines for their business model. Actually, this is small potatoes compared to what they had about 5 years ago, when police in Bogata found a mostly-built 100 foot long steel submarine.

I really hope this post actually makes it to the Blogger server...

Friday, March 25, 2005

USS San Francisco Awards Ceremony

From KUAM Guam, here's the story on the awards ceremony for the San Francisco held today. I can't tell for sure, but I don't see the names of any of the navigation team (the ones who are likely to have been taken to mast earlier in the week) nor did CDR Mooney get an award. In any event, it's nice to see the Navy recognize the bravery of the crew. Shipmates, you make me proud to be a submariner.

Staying at PD...

Update 2100 26 March: Here's a picture from the awards ceremony of the ship's corpsman, HM1(SS) James Akin, receiving the Meritorious Service Medal.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

More on San Fran NJP

Well, I spent the last half-hour doing a post on my additional thoughts on the San Fran situation, and as I went to post it, Blogger ate it. Since I don't have time to reconstruct it, I'll just give you a link to another discussion going on at Martini's BBS; make sure you read the post by ssn711et to see him correct some misconceptions some of the other posters had.

Going deep...

Update 0038 25 March: submandave, who started the discussion linked above, has some thoughts in his own blog as well.

This Is Sad...

This report from WTNH in Hartford discusses the apparent suicide of a Sailor stationed on USS Seawolf (SSN 21), currently undergoing SRA at Electric Boat in Groton. Initial reports are that he was standing Roving Security Watch when he shot himself. This is the second suicide that I've heard of recently on board a submarine; I don't think that makes it a trend, but I'm sure the Sub Force is taking a round turn on the issue to try to keep it from becoming one...

Things To Do When I'm Not Blogging

As you may have picked up, I haven't been blogging as much during the Thursday through Saturday timeframe. In my new job, I do 12 hour shifts (which translates to 14 hours away from home) every Thursday through Saturday, and every other Wednesday. I'm not complaining... I love the seven days off out of every 14; it does cut into my blogging time, though.
Anyway, when I'm not posting as much, please visit the bloggers and other sites listed to the right. One of the most prolific bloggers on my blogroll is Ninme, who today has logged 18 (!) separate entries; her stuff is always fascinating.
MrTorrance from Banfilm Movie BBS sends an interesting link to Haze Gray & Underway, a good collection of general Navy information.
And, sometime this week I should hit the 20,000 visitor mark. Thanks to everyone who's stopped by, and especially thanks to all the commenters that make my posts so much more interesting! As I've said several times, the main reason I started this blog was just to have something to make it look like I wasn't a blog-less newbie when I commented on other blogs, but I'm glad that you find what I have to say interesting enough to keep stopping by...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Article on San Francisco NJP

Here's an article by Bob Hamilton of the New London Day (registration required after today) that has some background information on the thinking that may have gone into the Commodore's Masts for the 6 USS San Francisco crew members earlier this week. Excerpts:

"Sources said the sailors were all punished as a result of an administrative proceeding known as a commodore's mast, which lasted 10 minutes or less for each of the men and focused on two areas of inquiry: whether the crew had obtained the most recent charts on board and whether it exercised sufficient caution when there was evidence that the charts being used might be faulty. The executive officer, a lieutenant commander, and the navigator, a lieutenant, received permanent punitive letters of censure, Navy sources said Tuesday.
"The assistant navigator, a senior chief electronics technician, received a similar letter and was stripped of his Navy enlisted classification, which ousts him from the submarine force.
Three other enlisted men, all members of the San Francisco navigation team, were demoted one rank, one of them from electronics technician 1st class to electronics technician 2nd class, and two others from 2nd class to 3rd class...
"...The punishments, and the lines of questioning, seem to support claims by Navy sources last month that the submarine had not updated its charts with notices to mariners, some dating back to the 1960s and some made as recently as last year, that would indicate a seamount in an area where the water was supposed to be several thousand feet deep.
"In addition, the same sources said, the navigation crew had taken a sounding that showed the water to be thousands of feet shallower than on the charts. Though still showing ample water under the keel for safe operation, the discrepancy should have prompted more caution, the sources said."

For me, the thing that jumps out is the statement that the boat "had not updated its charts with notices to mariners... dating back to the 1960s". I was taught that when you prepared a chart, you went back through the Notice to Mariners only as far as the date the chart was prepared, it being assumed that the chart contained all applicable Notes up to the date it was printed. If the Submarine Force is in fact expecting that all boats have been updating all charts with all Notices to Mariners back to whatever date, I'm sure that the Tactical Readiness Examination teams have been checking that on each exam. (Note: the previous sentence is sarcastic -- they don't check that.) This just confirms to me that the Sub Force is really reaching here, and this saddens me; in trying to find their way in this new unipolar world, they seem to be falling back on their old habits of shotgun-blasting everyone who is involved in anything that brings negative publicity to the Force. As far as the charge that the soundings they received were significantly different than charted, that is a fairly serious shortcoming, but again one that I believe was shared by many boats in the fleet (not that it's a problem now, of course.) I base this only on the small sample of boats that I've been on -- at a flank bell in deep water, soundings are not as accurate as they are in shallow water and slower speeds. What I would do is keep taking soundings until I got one that matched. If the sub force expects that every boat that was doing a flank bell treat a bad sounding at flank in deep water as basically a yellow sounding (which sounds like what they expected, and which, to be honest, is probably what the letter of the law required) I think they could have done a better job of stressing that if they think now that it is a punishable offense not to do it.

More on this later... Staying at PD...

Bell-ringer 0023 25 March: Here are some comments on the comments to this post over at Chapomatic. Also, Lubber's Line has a post on the next generation of the Submarine Voyage Management System.

USS Jefferson City Sailors at Sea World

These little PR stunts that boats occasionally have to do are usually a pain in the butt. The crew of USS Jefferson City (SSN 759), based in San Diego, helped christen a new submarine-themed Sea World attraction, and had to stand around in their dress blues. Some of these events are OK though; for instance, when USS Pasadena (SSN 752) was stationed in San Diego, the junior officers got to go up to the Rose Parade every year to escort the Rose Princesses. That sucked not being on Pasadena...

U.S. Submarine Visits S. Korea

This one is great. The Korea Times has a breathless article about a U.S. nuclear submarine visiting Chinhae, and they claim to have photographic evidence! Here's an excerpt:

"Green Korea United confirmed that the U.S. nuclear-powered submarine SSN-688-LA was at the naval base in the southeastern naval port city of Chinhae.
"The civic group made public the photograph of the SSN-688 Los Angeles-class submarine that they took on March 16 at the base, claiming that the presence of the submarine within Korean waters breached the 1992 Joint Declaration on Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
"The declaration stipulates that the two Koreas are only allowed to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
"The civic group said that the submarine anchored in the naval base on March 16 to replenish Korea's military supplies, raising suspicion that the submarine might have dumped nuclear waste from its nuclear reactors into an island near the port during its stay.
``We've suspected the American nuclear-powered submarine of anchoring at the Korean territory two or three times a year, but we confirmed it with a photograph this time,'' the civic group said.
``The government and the U.S. should give up pushing forward with the joint military tactics of nuclear-powered submarines on the Korean Peninsula,'' it added.
The ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC) and the South Korean Ministry of Defense denied any dumping of nuclear waste but acknowledged that the submarine had entered the peninsula.
``The submarine was on the Korean Peninsula to participate in a military exercise. But the claim that it has dumped nuclear waste is not true,'' a CFC official said."

Wow... this is an amazing coup, confirming that a nuclear-powered U.S. warship is visiting South Korea. Now, they could have just gone to Pusan, about 50 miles down the road from Chinhae, and seen one of the nuclear-powered aircraft carriers anchored out in the harbor about twice a year, but a submarine is much more sinister. Actually, I am impressed that they got a picture from Chinhae harbor; the South Koreans are very serious about security. Our submarines visit Chinhae probably 2-3 times a year; it's a decent liberty port (cheaper than Japan), and they have these little dried minnows that you can eat if you're getting really drunk. [Sea story digression: I spent my 29th birthday in Chinhae, back in my drinking days. Six of us went to this hotel dance club about 20 km NW of Chinhae; I don't remember much except at one point I was in the middle of a circle of about 200 grinning and clapping Koreans, doing these John Travolta-like disco moves. Then, the six of us did the bunny hop -- I was in back, and suddenly I felt a pair of hands on my shoulder; some of the Korean guys had joined in. Not sure how we got back to the boat.] Plus, they have cab drivers that I'd put against any from anywhere else in the world in terms of sheer terror they cause in their passengers.

Going deep...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Sure They "Support the Troops"

The frequent canard put out by the anti-war left is that they "support the troops, not the war". This would be admirable, if true, but I always get a feeling that they might have some thoughts other than those of support if you scratch the surface enough.
Here are a couple of threads from Democratic Underground on recent protest actions on the 2nd anniversary of the opening of the Iraqi front in the Global War on Terror. The first concerns a protest at a Baltimore recruiting office; here are some excerpts:

Street theater took place. Someone laid a coffin by the center's doors. The coffin was draped in an American flag. "I hold it personally against them, says one black-clad activist, Seel, about why it was important to stop by the recruitment officers in their shopping-center office at work. "Its immoral, what they do; its murder."

Here's another one on the vandalism of a San Diego recruiting office. While one DUer tries to make the point that vandalism isn't the message the "peace-loving" comrades shouldn't be presenting to the public, another says:

"...I believe this is the right thing to do. We need to see more vocal and visible opposition to this disgusting war. I very much approve of such actions."

And then, there's U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga) who apparently had this to say at an anti-war protest in Chicago on Saturday:

"Two years ago we gathered all across America to say no to war. We were joined by people all over the planet who know that there is an alternative to war. But war is about the only option available when the real motive is to steal natural resources that belong to someone else. Or to restack the deck in the Middle East with today's generation of coups and assassinations, following the likes of the US 1949 ouster of Syria's elected government, the US 1953 ouster of Iran's elected government; US 1958 landing of Marines in Lebanon; and its 1963 support for a coup in Iraq after an assassination attempt against its leader failed. The militarism we see today is nothing new. Even though some 14 countries have withdrawn their troops since March 2003, Bush tells the American people that he has no idea when US troops can expect to come home. Sadly, many of them are being forced to take matters into their own hands. With filings for conscientious objector status, forced pregnancies (?), disappearances, seeking asylum in Canada, and leading rallies like this today all over America. The American people, and our children over there fighting, still haven't been told the real reason the US is at war with the Iraqi people. And against the people the US war machine has turned. Thousands of Iraqis, especially children, have been killed by our sanctions and our bombs. This is an immoral and illegal war and we need to bring our troops home now. Instead, they lay the groundwork to expand the war and destabilize Iran, Lebanon, and Syria. Destroying Iraq isn't enough for them. Nor are the million men and women in our Armed Services enough for them. The George Bush war machine wants you, too. And your children. Everywhere you turn the Pentagon is denying it wants a draft while at the same time lamenting that recruitment is way down. Mercenaries will increasingly be used to fight their wars with your tax dollars. While reinstating the draft only feeds the war machine. In fact, we need to get the military recruiters out of our high schools; they need to stop harassing our children, and the 1 billion dollars they spend on slick radio and tv spots and friendly neighborhood offices, ought to be put in the education budget so our kids can go to college without having to go to war first. They tell us we're at war for democracy. But that's a joke; George Bush came to power by stopping democracy at home--denying the opportunity to vote to blacks and Latinos in Florida. They built on that fine record last year with hackable voting machines that don't accurately tally our votes. And in countries like Haiti where democracy was thriving, they arrested President Aristide at gunpoint and forced him out of his own country. While they purport to cherish democracy, they really have a disdain for it. Democracy in Venezuela, India, Spain, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay has produced proud people willing to stand up to US imperialism, coup attempts, and destabilization of their countries. And the good news is that this resistance will spread. The worse they are, the stronger we become. And worse they will become because they've aimed their sights on Russia and China after they've balkanized the Middle East. But one thing I guarantee to you and to them: we won't be fooled! We know the truth. And we won't stop. Stay strong, my brothers and sisters, we have a lot of work to do."

Forced pregnancies? That's a new one. I've heard of "forced pregnancies" as a means of terrorizing a civilian population in war zones, but as a way of avoiding service in Iraq? I mean, I know some female servicepeople get pregnant to avoid deployment, but "forced"? Anyway, if anyone says that "dissent is being surpressed" ask them if an opposition politician could give a speech like this in any oppressive country in the world. And no, people pointing out that she's an asshat isn't "stifling dissent".

Staying at PD...

Update 2109 22 March: Citizen Smash mentions the SD vandalism as well...

Not Quite as Sinister as it Seems

Michelle Malkin has an entry up on the recent re-discovery of a WWII Japanese submarine off the coast of Oahu. Now, Michelle is one of the best bloggers out there, but in this case I think she's using a little selective editing to try to make the story seem more sinister than it really is. (In the same way, the KGMB9 article linked above tries to make it seem like Japanese ship-building skills were way advanced compared to ours and that we cravenly sank the I-401 to keep the Russians from building the same thing.)
Here's some more about the Japanese Sen Toku-class boats. The real story behind this neat find is summarized thusly: The Japanese started building a fleet of very large, sea-plane carrying submarines as a way of hopefully taking the war to the western coast of North America. Some Japanese scientists thought that they could use this capability to deliver a potential bacteriological weapon, if they had gotten it to work, and if they had gotten political approval (unlikely -- remember, both sides had chemical weapons but didn't use them; any Japanese use of bacteriological weapons would have been responded to in kind, and the Japanese realized they were more susceptible to these weapons than we were.) Both sides worked on strange weapons (remember the U.S. Bat Bomber program) but simply conceiving a weapons system doesn't mean they were about to use it. The boat was found off Oahu because we sent it there after we captured it in Japan at the end of the war, and sank it in weapons tests. (We sank some other Japanese ships in a weapons test here.)
Regarding the charges that we sank it because it was "so sophisticated", well, I'm sure we didn't want the Russians to see it just on G.P. We didn't build our submarines that big because it would have been foolhardy; a WWII boat that big would be too easily sunk by ASW forces. Until the advent of nuclear power, such a large boat would have been very slow, and very easily seen by the active sonar sets of the day, and thus easily depth charged. A big submarine? Sure. Sophisticated? Probably. Sunk to keep the Russians from winning the Cold War? Not quite...

Going deep...

Update 1130 22 March: Here's a web page with some personal recollections of the I-401 post-war, along with a link to a page on a report from one of the American crewmembers who sailed her from Japan to Hawaii.

Bell-ringer 2249 22 March: From the comments, here's a great resource about the I-400, sister ship of the I-401.

Commodore's Masts

It sounds like they're done with the Commodore's Masts for the San Francisco. With previous subs that have gotten into trouble (Greeneville, OKC) the Navy has announced in general that other officers and enlisted men were punished without listing the specific charges and "awards". Therefore, you won't hear it first from me, either. I have heard that the San Fran will have an awards ceremony on Friday, so we'll see if any of the punished Sailors also get awards; I would certainly hope they would if they're deserved...

Staying at PD...

Update 1825 22 March: Here's the Navy Times story on the Masts. Excerpt:

"...reliable sources told Navy Times that those punished included the heavily damaged submarine’s executive officer, navigator, assistant navigator and three petty officers. The assistant navigator is a senior chief petty officer who had qualified for that duty. Sources also said that the three more junior sailors reportedly each lost a stripe, with one first class petty officer reduced to second class and two second classes reduced to third.
"The Navy has not yet released any of its investigations into the mishap but given the initial punishments, it appears that much of the blame has been placed on the submarine’s voyage planning process. In Mooney’s case, Greenert concluded, according to a spokesman, that “several critical navigational and voyage planning procedures were not being implemented aboard San Francisco. By not ensuring these standard procedures were followed, Mooney hazarded his vessel.”
"Once a submarine’s superior command orders a sub to deploy and issues a basic track or operating area, the sub’s navigation team is totally responsible for properly planning the route, according to U.S. Submarine Forces in Norfolk. The actual charts and plan are prepared and approved by, in order, the sub’s assistant navigator, navigator, executive officer and commanding officer, according to the Norfolk command.
"Davis said the Guam command does not anticipate disciplining any other crewmembers as a result of the mishap."

SOBT Courses On-Line

Can't sleep? Bored? Want to be more bored? Have lots of bandwidth? Well, the Sub Force has just what you need. For some reason, the unclassified Submarine On Board Training (SOBT) courses are available via the regular NIPR. The Helmsman/Planesman one is actually fairly interesting, although it looks like they had to cut out quite a bit to make it unclassified. This is another one where I have no idea why they'd try to declassify it so they could make it available to the whole world, but they did...

Going deep...

Monday, March 21, 2005

Thanks a Lot, France

It looks like our old buddies the French are up to it again. (Remember, buddy is only half a word.) Back in September, I blogged about a visit of a Russian submarine to France, and figured that it was a good thing. Now, though, it appears that France and Russia have been discussing an agreement to prevent underwater collisions, and the Russians are complaining that the Americans and Brits are refusing to negotiate. No s**t!
Currently, there's a treaty between Russia and NATO regarding the prevention of incidents on or over the high seas (Incidents at Sea Agreement, or INCSEA - link is 30 page Adobe document). Note that this does not apply to submerged submarines, and there's a reason for this. In general, the rules of the road apply to vessels "in sight of one another", or vessels trapped in the fog. They simply don't apply to submarines. What Russia would obviously like is for us to agree to some mechanism where we tell them where are submarines are at. The fact that the French are even discussing this shows that they aren't really serious about being militarily realistic -- all they want are some public relations points with the peaceniks. This was as ridiculous as President Clinton's apology to Russian President Yeltsin at the Vancouver summit in 1993 for the Grayling-Delta III collision near Murmansk, and the White House press release that stated:
"...In response to the incident involving a collision between U.S. and Russian submarines last month, Secretary Aspin will be ready to discuss ways to avoid such incidents in the future with Russian Defense Minister Grachev during his visit to the United States in late May."

That idiocy obviously died a quick death, probably after the submariners beat the new civilian DoD leadership with a Cluebat. The fact that the French are continuing their negotiations shows that they either don't understand submarining, or are looking for any way to embarass the U.S. and Great Britain.

Going deep...

Greatest. Moonbat. Site. Ever.

Via A. E. Brain, here's the most amusing website I've ever seen. They seem to have almost all the moonbat angles covered: chemtrails, Illuminati, mind control rays, and a new one for me, cell phone towers. Here's some of what they have to say on those:

"The explanation for the ELF towers discussed below from the anonymous source makes perfect sense to me. I had already learned from Sterwart Swerdlow that the kickoff date for the NWO takeover was supposed to have been year 2000, but the date was pushed up to 2003 due to unforseen obstacles impeding the agenda; gun control in America being one of them. It's worthwhile to note from the anonymous writer that Kevlar suits, lined with lead, can effectively block these ELF waves and prevent brain entrainment. Don Croft is convinced that the presence of DOR (Wilhelm Reich's acronym for Deadly Orgone energy) is necessary for these mind control towers to work."

Anyway, it's a hilarious site, so if you have a few minutes and need a laugh, go check them out... and remember, some of those people may be your neighbors! (But if you don't live in Idaho, it's probably less likely...)

Going deep...

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Old Shipmate in the News

Via "The Sub Report", I found an article on an old shipmate of mine from the Topeka, MMC(SS) Keith Grieves, who is now onboard my last sub, USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23). Nicknamed "Gunny", this torpedoman was very popular with the Supply Officer, due to his frequent attempts to sneak requisitions for an M-60 machine gun through the system... Torpedo Division on board the Jimmy Carter is in good hands...

Going deep...

Purple Dolphins

The discussion over the recent news of the submariner who earned his dolphins in 30 days on USS Tucson got me thinking about my JO tour and the infamous "midshipman dolphins". In the 1990s and before, midshipmen from the Naval Academy and NROTC had been allowed to "earn" enlisted dolphins during their summer cruises; this resulted in an uproar from the retired submariner community, which caused this policy to be eliminated in the late 1990s.
Here's my experience with this program of "giving out" dolphins to the midshipmen. So there I was, on USS Topeka (SSN 754) in the summer of 1991. We had just gotten out to San Diego in the spring, and the CO obviously wanted to make a good impression with the submarine leadership in town. Each summer, each boat not in the shipyards got inundated with large numbers of midshipmen, which really was a pain in the butt. You had to keep them entertained and try to convince them that they should volunteer for submarines. This year, the squadron Commodore apparently decided that he would encourage the boats to try their best to get the midshipmen to "earn" their dolphins. Here's how VADM Mies, SubLant in the late 90's, says it was supposed to operate:

"Each year over 400 midshipmen from both the Naval Academy and NROTC units (Juniors and seniors) participate in summer training cruises aboard submarines. These cruises range in length from 25 to 70 days. The objective of this training program is to further the professional development of midshipmen, by introducing them to the operational Navy, reinforcing their academic year programs, instilling a sense of pride in their identification with the Navy, and inclining them toward careers in the naval service. Utilizing guidance from the Chief of Naval Education and Training, the United States Naval Academy, and the submarine type commanders, each submarine is responsible for developing a program that meets the above objectives.
"The issue of allowing midshipmen the opportunity to earn enlisted dolphins during their summer cruise is specifically addressed in the guidance provided by the submarine type commanders, and is not a new policy. In fact, midshipmen have been given this opportunity as far back as my staff and I can remember. This policy is reviewed annually prior to the start of midshipmen summer training. The current guidance states that:
"Awarding of silver dolphins is approved for all midshipmen who satisfactorily complete all current requirements for enlisted submarine qualification (less time on board). However, each midshipman must be aware of the importance that the Submarine Force places on submarine qualification. The decision to allow midshipmen to attempt enlisted submarine qualification, if they so desire, should be made by the Commanding Officer when the cruise affords a reasonable opportunity to achieve this goal. The usual high standards of qualification must be maintained for midshipmen who attempt to qualify..."
"The allegation that enlisted dolphins are "handed out to four-week students like sticks of candy to grade school children" is not true. As stated above, they must meet all requirements of other enlisted personnel with the exception of the minimum time on board requirement of six months. During the summers of 1996 and 1997, only 5% (20/394) and 6% (31/505) of the midshipmen who participated in a submarine cruise earned their enlisted dolphins, respectively. Regretfully, data on the number of midshipmen who earned enlisted dolphins in 1995 is no longer available, but I can assure you the percentage was small and similar to the above statistics.
"The midshipmen who earn their enlisted dolphins do so only with the support of the entire crew, both officer and enlisted. Many "checkouts" that the midshipmen must receive are obtained from enlisted crew members, and are only given after the midshipmen demonstrate the requisite level of knowledge. Additionally, a final oral examination board is required for each midshipman to earn enlisted dolphins. This board is made up of enlisted members of the crew, as well as an officer, and ensures the midshipman displays the required level of knowledge. This process ensures that enlisted crew members are heavily involved in the qualification of the midshipmen, and should lend credibility to other enlisted submariners who doubt the process is fair."

Sounds pretty good, right? Here's how it actually happened on my boat. Our CO (who was, and still is, a really good guy, btw) comes down from a meeting with the Commodore and tells us that we will "actively support" the Midshipman qualification program. So, we do, and give each midshipman a qual card when they get on board. A few of them decide to try to get the checkouts needed, but soon find that they actually have to do things like trace the systems out, and know how the systems work. As a result, no one actually completes the qual card, or even gets close. So, we're in the last week of midshipmen ops, and the CO wonders why no one has come up for a qual board. When we tell him why, he decides that instead of completing the qual card and having a qual board, we'll just give the midshipmen a DOOW qual exam, and whoever passes that will get their silver dolphins. About six of them did pass, so the CO scheduled a ceremony to give them their dolphins. As you can imagine, this doesn't go over very well with the crew. A number of the chiefs were talking to the Chief of the Boat (the senior enlisted man on board) and told him that if the midshipmen were going to get dolphins, they could go ahead and give the midshipmen their (the Chief's) dolphins. The CO got wind of this, and somehow got it in his head that this meant that the Chiefs were supporting the "Great Topeka Dolphin Give-away". So, we had the ceremony, and each of the six Chiefs went up to the Middies in order, took their own dolphins off their shirts, and pinned them on the midshipmen. The next day, the CO noticed the Chiefs hadn't replaced their dolphins, and asked the COB why. Well, the upshot was that the COB ordered the CPOs to go to the Exchange and buy new dolphins, and wear them, and no midshipman qualified on the Topeka ever again as long as those Chiefs were onboard.
As to the origin of the phrase "purple dolphins": In submarine slang, to "grape" something off is to earn a signature on a qual card for something you didn't really do. This originated, as near as I can tell, from the Sub School practice of giving officer students a weird purple stamp (it's three small purple circles that look like a small group of grapes) next to certain signatures in the officer qual cards that are covered during Sub School.

Going deep...

Update 2121 22 March: Lubber's Line adds his thoughts to the question of "the cheapening of dolphins".

Sub-blogger Joins the Counterprotest

Chapomatic was out there with Citizen Smash and the rest of the San Diego Protest Warriors showing the increasingly shrinking numbers of protestors against the Global War on Terrorism that there are people who can also exercise their constitutional rights to make their opinion heard on the other side. Thanks for fighting the good fight, Chap!
There was also a protest here in Boise yesterday -- the paper said there were about 400 people there, but many of them were apparently invisible, based on the pictures. Boise moonbats are funny (and luckily, fairly few and far between -- the liberal ones, that is).

Staying at PD...

Friday, March 18, 2005

Happy Submariner's Day!

Saturday is Submariner's Day... in Russia. This article from Novosti gives an admittedly biased snapshot of the current state of the Russian submarine forces. While they are apparently building some new boats, they haven't commissioned a new nuclear boat in quite a while, and I figure anything that takes money away from the day-to-day operating budget of the Russian sub force is probably a good thing.

Going deep...

Update 2131 19 March: Here's an article from ITAR-Tass on this year's Submariner's Day, with some background.

Well, That Stunk

I guess this shows you why one shouldn't go talking smack about their basketball team when it's available for the world to see. Kansas lost a first round tournament game for the first time since 1978 in a year in which they were the pre-season #1 team and had 4 seniors. Bucknell certainly picked a crappy time (for me) to get their first ever tournament win. Well, I have to go rescue my stuffed Jayhawk doll, since Pantherfan is kicking it in frustration... Abuse is welcome in the comments (I deserve it...)

Going deep...

I Suck at Picking 8-9 Games

Not much in the way of submarine news, so I'll blog about the tournament. I went 12-4 in my picks yesterday; I missed both of the 8-9 games, my Creighton upset pick didn't come through, and I missed UAB over LSU. On the other hand, I did pick the Wisc.-Milwaukee over Alabama upset, and I didn't have any of the teams I missed winning a second round game, so I'm in good shape. For today (which sees the start of Kansas' inevitable march to victory) I picked the favorites, with the exception of the 8-9 and 7-10 games, where I picked the lower seed. My oldest son was 15-1 yesterday, but he had LSU going to the Elite 8, so he's in a bit of trouble.

Staying at PD...

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Other Shoe About To Drop

From what I've been hearing through the grapevine, and from what is spoken about openly here, it looks like the Sub Force is about to dole out punishment to more San Francisco Sailors for their actions leading up to the recent grounding. Interestingly, it looks like they'll do that before they give out the awards for saving the ship to other crew members. I wonder what they'll do if there are Sailors who should get awards but are up on charges? I'd like to say I have faith in the powers-that-be to do the right thing, but right now I'm not too confident...

Staying at PD...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Ex-CO Greeneville Update

Via The Sub Report, here's an article that updates the current activities of CDR Scott Waddle, CO of USS Greeneville (SSN-772) when she collided with the Japanese fishing vessel; this article is provided for your information without comment by me. Additionally, there's also a report out on the on-going negotiations between Russia and India regarding India's potential lease/purchase of a couple Akula class nuclear attack boats, which I'd comment on if I didn't have to get up for work in six hours...

Going deep...

Navy Times Articles on USS San Francisco

As I discussed earlier, the Navy Times printed some excerpts from E-mails from crewmen assigned to the San Francisco, in at least one case against that Sailor's wishes. The article that discusses the first-hand accounts is here. Since the Navy Times is all about "fair use" excerpts, here's mine:

"Leaning against the ship’s control panel, one hand clutching a hand grip, Hager was busy changing the expected soundings for a new depth on his charts. The ship had just moved into deeper water.
"And then it happened. A submariner’s worst nightmare became reality: undersea collision.
"Hager plowed headfirst into the control panel, punching his palm through a thick Plexiglas gauge. His leg was crushed after the quartermaster of the watch rammed into Hager’s chair, sending it “flying more than 15 feet,” and pinning Hager’s leg against a hydraulic valve and the control panel.
"In his e-mail, obtained and verified by Navy Times, Hager described the force of the impact in layman’s terms. Imagine a recreational vehicle full of people slamming into a concrete wall at about 40 mph, he said, and then trying “to drive the damn thing home” while dealing with serious casualties."

All in all, I'd say that it sounds like a pretty good article, and fair to the crew as well. While I don't like the fact that the Navy Times used what was meant to be a personal communication with the Chief's community against the will of the author, I'm glad they didn't turn it into some sort of hatchet job. The main thing that I've taken away from the grounding was the high state of training and professionalism of the crew in getting their crippled ship home, and the obvious brotherly love that they've all shown towards MM2 (SS) Joseph Ashley and his family. The other article is excerpts from the E-mails sent out by SubPac immediately after the collision that have been discussed elsewhere many times before.

Going deep...

My Readers Send Me Kewl Links!

From my Inbox (joel dot bubblehead at gmail dot com), a reader from Atlanta sends a great series of shots of a tugboat trying to play submarine a couple of years ago. Since his surface-to-dive ratio at the end of the day was still equal to one, you'd have to say it was a successful trip. Snopes has some more of the background.

Karbonkountymoos sends a link to a blogger named Sarpy Sam who had an interesting experience with submarine medicine while underway.

The inexhaustible Ninme, who is a little less enigmatic now that her "About Me" page is finally up, sends a link to an interesting discussion on the right side of the blogosphere about the current activities of the U.S. carrier fleet. From there, you can check out the raving moonbats of the left and their take on the issue. Here's the real scoop on this whole thing: this is just a normal rotation of carriers along with some local ops. We're not about to invade Iran. Last year, both sides of the blogosphere got up in arms when the Navy started Summer Pulse '04 and sent seven carriers to sea; everyone thought that we were going to invade China or something. (One of the carriers involved was the USS Ronald Reagan, which just happened to be doing a change of homeport from Norfolk to San Diego, and didn't even have a full air wing on board.) Didn't happen then, won't happen now...

Going deep...

Dolphins in 30 Days...

This concerns me a bit. I'll say at the beginning that I don't want to question the integrity of the Tuscon's qual program, but this story from Navy News says that an MM2 received his dolphins after only 30 days aboard USS Tucson (SSN 770). I could see it if he went to another boat first, but there's no indication that he did. Ignoring the obvious idiocies in the story (like "Massie attributed his rapid qualification to working with 637-class training submarines in Charleston, N.C., before reporting to the boat.") he's obviously a Nuke who worked on one of the two old Boomers set up as MTSs in Goose Creek, SOUTH Carolina -- so either the SubPac JO2 who wrote the story doesn't have a clue and misquoted him, or this newly-qualified submariner doesn't know the difference between an old boomer and a fast boat. I'd guess the former -- I assume Massie knew he was really in South Carolina for the nuke pipeline. (Or, we really have random 637s sitting around Charleston available for random Sailors to train on that I had no idea existed.) Again, I don't mean to question the integrity of the Tucson's qual program, but this does seem a little fast to me... since you have to qualify an inport and at-sea watchstation, I'm assuming he's an ELT, since that's really the only legitimate way you can get both watchstations done that quick (ELT counts for both...) I guess the only thing I can really say is "Congratulations, MM2(SS) Massie." The story also mentions an MMFN that qualified in two months, and the SubPac website has a picture of him under the News heading. Any thoughts on this in the comments would be greatly appreciated -- I'm really kind of conflicted on this one, and I feel upset with myself for feeling this way.
The intel source for this story, BTW, was The Sub Report, who is now at a new URL (

Going Deep...

Update 2206 15 March: There's some good discussion on this issue over at Ron Martini's BBS, here and here. Also, one of the comments there let me know that I'd mis-spelled "Tucson", so I corrected it in the entry above. It appears that the verbiage for the picture I linked to above that originally said it showed the MMFN has now been changed to say it shows MM2(SS) Massie. Finally, some of the commenters over at Martini's place say it's not a big deal, since he worked on the 637 class subs in Charleston. As I mentioned above, as far as I know there is no such thing, and the Moored Training Ships there have the front part of the boats completed scooped out and replaced with MTS-specific equipment, such that I'd guess that maybe 5% or less of the systems are the same as you'd find on an actual submarine.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Talking Smack

No, this isn't a post about heroin, it's about the upcoming NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, and specifically, about the inevitable triumph of the Kansas Jayhawks. While my good friends from the Pacific Northwest can fantasize all they want about Washington or Gonzaga winning it all, the fact is that KU will pull down the nets in St. Louis three weeks from today. Consider this: the four KU seniors have 15 games of tournament experience (having won 4, 5, and 3 games in the last three tournaments, respectively), so do yourself a favor, and put down the Jayhawks to win it all in your brackets -- you'll thank me for it. If everything holds to form, KU will be playing Bucknell, Wisconsin, UConn, and North Carolina on their way to the Final Four. As far as Bucknell goes, KU has won 21 straight first round games, so that one's a gimme. Wisconsin has been playing well lately, but they're from the Big 10, and with the exception of Illinois, all the Big T(elev)en teams suck, so we'll have no problems with them. UConn is the defending national champion, but they lost most of their talent, so they'll fall without much of a struggle. UNC is coached by a traitor, so KU will be especially motivated to kick their butts. Bottom line, I foresee no problems at all winning our first four games. If, for some reason, they do lose, I'll be here to explain why the refs stole it, or how KU would have beaten whatever team they played 9 out of 10 times in normal competition.

Oh, and if you're looking for NIT information, check here...

Staying at PD...

Navy Caste System?

The guys over at Castle Argghhh!!! have a question up for Navy guys on whether or not a "caste system", or division between officers and enlisted, still exists in the Navy. Give it a look, and I'm sure they'd love to hear your comments if you have any.

Story of the Doris

Via Chapomatic and The Sub Report, here's the story of the French submarine Doris that you will find interesting:

"At the end of April 1940 Doris and other French submarines were called to Harwich, England for new assignments under British command. A couple of hundred miles from their destination the engine that operated the main compressor seized. This compressor supplied the air necessary for Doris to ascend after a dive. It was impossible to repair it, so they limped towards Harwich on one engine.
"The navy technicians in Harwich could not repair the broken engine and they could not even obtain a replacement in France. In 1927 the French had bought the boat engines in Germany at Schneider Diesels. They did this because the Germans built the most compact and powerful diesels compared to some other French makes. They must have been too proud to even consider buying them from England.
"On May 6th 1940 all the crews were informed that they would go on patrol on the North Sea, above the Frisian Islands to keep an eye on the German fleet and their movements. Even submarine Doris would join that task although she wasn't fit for it; she could only sail at half speed and in an emergency she could dive but could never ascend afterwards! That meant that she was the "sitting duck" of the submarine group and if her luck should end, the crew could only pray for a miracle.
"The Commander at the base took the crew aside and told them that the task they were assigned was important enough that they would have to go out with the broken engine. He also told them that he did not expect that they would survive this mission. He also asked them if there were any quitters amongst them. The crew of submarine Doris looked at each other and most of the crewmen responded loudly. They decided that they had come this far as one family and they would serve France and the free world as one and if they had to die, then they would do so together. No one refused the job."

As they say, read the rest...

Going deep...

Media Elite Speak Out

One of the things that I always practiced during my submarine career was the concept of keeping internal problems internal until they had to be brought to the attention of outside agencies. In other words, it's perfectly OK to bitch about what you think is wrong with your boat to your shipmates, but you should think twice before bitching to someone from squadron.
In an interview in China's People's Daily Online (via Drudge Report), Washington Post Managing Editor Philip Bennett apparently decided that he can be more open with the U.S.'s rivals than he is with Americans. Assuming the transcript of the interview is accurate (and remember, we are dealing with a Chinese media outlet here) Bennett says some things that I can't imagine he'd tell an American audience. Excerpts:

Yong Tang: In such sense, do you think America should be the leader of the world?
Bennett: No, I don't think US should be the leader of the world. My job is helping my readers trying to understand what is happening now. What is happening now is very difficult to understand. The world is very complex. There are various complex forces occurring in it. I don't think you can imagine a world where one country or one group of people could lead everybody else. I can't imagine that could happen. I also think it is unhealthy to have one country as the leader of the world. People in other countries don't want to be led by foreign countries. They may want to have good relations with it or they may want to share with what is good in that country.
That is also a sort of colonial question. The world has gone through colonialism and imperialism. We have seen the danger and shortcomings of those systems. If we are heading into another period of imperialism where the US thinks itself as the leader of the area and its interest should prevail over all other interests of its neighbors and others, then I think the world will be in an unhappy period.
Yong Tang: So the world order should be democratic?
Bennett: Democracy means many things. How do you define democracy? As a Chinese journalist, you may have your own definition of democracy which corresponds to your history and your way of seeing the world. I may have another definition. Someone else may have their own definitions. Democracy means a lot of different things.
Let me give an example. Democracy in one sense means the majority decides, but it also means the rights of the minority are protected. As UK late Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, democracy is the least bad system that we have ever thught of. So democracy is never perfect. It always has problems. Our democracy here in the US has many contradictions, problems and challenges. So democracy is not a cure that could turn everything bad into good. It has its own advantages and its disadvantages.

The whole interview goes on in this vein. I realize that my disappointment with Bennett may be simply nothing more than my own old-fashioned view of the world; Bennett, being an enlightened media elite, may realize that looking at the world in such narrow "we vs. they" terms is an outmoded way of thinking, and that he has more responsibilities as a "world citizen" to reveal what is wrong with America to Chinese readers of the People's Daily than he does to his "fellow Americans". If so, he's apparently ahead of most of us poor slobs, since he reveals that he recognizes that the Mainstream Media doesn't necessarily reflect the beliefs of most Americans:

Yong Tang: Does it mean that American mainstream media no longer represent mainstream views?
Bennett: I think there will be some people on the right and conservatives who say that. In their eyes the mainstream media is too liberal while the whole country tends to be more and more conservative. Today American people are more conservative, nationalistic and religious and more closed off to foreign influence than the media. By and large, American mainstream media has been slow to appreciate how important the religion is in America. We don't cover it very deeply and extensively. So I think there are areas we are out of touch.
Furthermore, there is a mood of great suspicion about the media. Every time when we publish a story about Iraq that suggests the war is not going well for America, I get lots of messages from people saying that we the Post are not patriotic and we are reporting negatively on the war only because of our political bias against the Bush administration. I think there is a perception among some of our readers that we are hostile to the Bush administration or representing our own political point of view in our news coverage. I think it is impossible to make that perception go away. Over the time it could damage the reputation of a newspaper...

So, there you have it. Bennett recognizes that his profession is out of touch with much of America, but rather than level with his readership, he let's an overseas paper know about it. I for one don't think that a paper needs to stop reporting negative news. What I would like to see is more balance (which doesn't mean giving equal space to all weirded out views; it means having sensible views represented). Of course, before the opening of the Iraqi front of the Global War on Terror, the people who said that Iraq didn't have any WMDs were generally recognized as wackos -- contributing to this, of course, was that these were the same people who had predicted that there was no way we could overthrow the Taliban, and if we did, there would be millions dead in an Afghan famine in winter 2001-2002. The press has a long way to go to restore whatever credibility they once had in an era where everyone has access to the raw data needed to form intelligent opinions on what's going on in the world, but my guess is that whining about it to the Chinese isn't the best way to start...

Going deep...

Update 1529 14 March: Power Line has much more on this interview...

Update 2052 14 March: CDR Salamander delivers a righteous fisking of the article. Hilarity ensues!

Update 0535 16 March: Via Instapundit, Bennett now claims that he was misquoted.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

NYT Article on USS San Francisco

(Intel Source: The Sub Report) It looks like the Navy is going on the offensive against perceptions that CDR Mooney of the San Francisco was punished for no reason. The New York Times has this article in tomorrow's paper (registration required) that has as it's sources "Navy officials" who gave interviews this week. Excerpt:

"Navy investigators have found that the officers on a nuclear submarine failed to take into account a variety of danger signs before the vessel smashed into an undersea mountain in January, Navy officials said in interviews last week.
"The officials said crew members on the submarine, the San Francisco, did not look at some navigational charts of the South Pacific that might have prompted more caution. The sailors also should have checked the water depth more frequently and should not have been traveling at high speed, the officials said."

Interesting. Hopefully one of these "officials" mis-spoke when saying that they should have paid more attention to South Pacific charts, since all indications are that the collision happened over 450 miles from the South Pacific... it'd be fairly ridiculous to hold all boats responsible for any weird chart readings within 500 nm. It's also interesting that they say that they should have taken more frequent soundings, and shouldn't have been going so fast. I'll be watching to see if they say they just shouldn't have been going so fast in general due to nearness to potential shoal water/minimal sounding data, or if this is related to whatever soundings beneath the keel they may have received before the grounding. While I recognize that the Navy's actions in firing CDR Mooney were probably necessary simply because of tradition, I still say that CDR Mooney just came up on the wrong side of the "big ocean, little ship" odds, and would venture that most fast boat skippers would have been operating the same way in the same situation.

Staying at PD...

Update 0849 13 March: Here's a longer version of the same article that doesn't require registration.

Weekend Miscellany

Over at The Diveblog is a nice roundup of USS San Franscisco information from the various sub-bloggers (he says Rob has "annoying music" - heh!).
CNSF (the organization formerly known as SubLant) put out a press release on African-American contributions throughout submarine history that makes for interesting reading.
The wacko Italian former hostage journalist is changing her story again; the moonbats decide that it's because she was afraid of being "suicided". It's funny, nothing even resembling a fact can convince some of these people to accept that they may have been wrong...
As always, Ninme provides the best wrap-up of important news around the 'Net.
And, it looks like the Navy Times is going to run with the story discussed below. Hopefully, they'll show some respect for the San Francisco crew...

Going deep...

Friday, March 11, 2005

British SSBN Protest

I've got about 2 minutes to blog -- I'm finding this new job is really cutting into my blogging time! Anyway, here's a story about a protest in Scotland against the British ballistic missile submarine fleet... for other news, check out the great bloggers listed to the right.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Sub News and Tax Whining

For a good update on submarine news, you should check out The Sub Report, which updates every day. For example, you can find out there about the Tomahawk test launch that USS Minneapolis-St. Paul (SSN-708) just did, or about the newest Brazilian submarine. For the rest of this post here, you'll just get unfocused whining about taxes that shows a complete misunderstanding about how the tax code is generated.
What's up with cutting off the Child Tax Credit when the kid turns 17 during the tax year?!? That cost me a thousand bucks! If the kid is still in high school and living at home, I want my money! Heck, the kid's still living at home, and still in high school! Why did I vote for President Bush if he doesn't extend the tax credit to my oldest kid, who just happened to turn 17 last year? And while I'm at it, where's all the free oil I was supposed to get from us invading Iraq?

Going deep...

New Friends on My Blogroll

Two new entries on my blogroll from the Northeast. We have Lubber's Line over at Hundreds of Fathoms, a new sub-blogger who's been one of my most prolific commenters; glad to see he's in the game on his own now! Also, Vigilis has started a blog over at Molten Eagle that looks like it's off to a good start. Give them both a visit!

Copyright Law and Brave Men

Over on Ron Martini's BBS, we find a story that looks like another case of the media vs. the little guy, but in this case, the "little guy" is just about the toughest A-ganger I know, and he's not taking it lying down:

"Aight, I do not like to post this, but I am being hunted by a reporter from the above said organization [Navy Times]. It seems a letter I posted on, a private BBS for Chiefs, was leaked to blogs, and now this reporter wants to use all of the online letters from US, PROUD submariners, to sell papers in a future navytimes paper about the San Fran.
"Fellas, that really gets my goad, and I don't like it. I already have friends checking on the legality of it. The letter I wrote was just days after the grounding and very emotional in nature, and I do not want it published on paper for somebody to market or make money on. I need you shipmates to help me and email the editor at navytimes and stop this BS. I posted that letter to my shipmates to let them understand what and how bad a severe casualty could do to even the highest trained people on the submarine.

"I might lose this fight, and my letter be published, but I will not support it. What I need is the support of other people to email them and let them know that we won't put up with it.
"The leaked letter? Hahaha, here it is, a uncut version that was explained by an ex submariner. Click the link, and you will see my thoughts."
San Fran Diving Officer

"Hagar" is the nom de plume of the submariner who was the Diving Officer of the Watch on USS San Francisco (SSN 711) during her recent collision. I'll write more on this later, but for now, please write the Navy Times by clicking here and leaving feedback.

Update 1314 09 March: As I was researching the applicable copyrights laws that Hagar might be able to use in an effort to prevent publication, I found this piece over at Legal Database. (As I checked back at Martini's BBS, someone else had also found it, so I could have saved myself some Googling.) The relevent portion:

"Works put on the Internet are considered “published” and therefore qualify for copyright protection. A work put on the Internet is not considered public domain simply because it was posted on the Internet and free for anyone to download and copy. You need permission from the site owner to publish any materials, including photographs, music, and artwork from the site.
"The best way to enforce Internet copyright is through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The
Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 is designed primarily to limit the liability of Internet service providers for acts of copyright infringement by customers who are using the providers' systems or networks..."

So, it would seem that Hagar's work is protected by copyright. This wouldn't protect him from having The Navy Times print a "fair use" portion of it if they attributed it to him, but I think it could keep them from printing the whole thing. I'd be interested to hear what any law-bloggers might have to say about this. Eagle1, how copy?

Staying at PD...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

It's Not Right or Left, It's Thinking vs. Unthinking

My favorite liberal sub-blogger, Rob at Rob's Blog, has a couple of good posts up over the last 24 hours. The first is his rethinking of his original reaction to the story of the tragedy of the shooting of the Italian officer at the BIAP TCP that dominated the news this weekend. While Rob is unabashedly liberal, he demonstrates that when a logical person receives new information, they're able to incorporate that into their worldview, and sometimes admit that their original thoughts may have been mistaken. I applaud Rob for this, and hope he doesn't take too much crap from the other side of the blogosphere (although he puts his reasons down so clearly that I think it'd be hard for anyone to disagree with him).
Rob's second post is a good one for anyone who feels the political dialogue has been poisoned by paritisanship within the U.S. He recognizes that people on the other side of the political fence may not simply be brainwashed idiots, but may have good reasons for believing as they do. While I spend a lot of time crawling around the darker, moonbattier recesses of the liberal group mind on the blogosphere, I do in fact recognize that the large majority of Kerry voters are in fact people who love their country as much as I do, and simply believe that there are different ways of solving our problems. As you may guess from reading some of my posts, I'm just as uncomfortable with some of the idiocies coming from the right as I am with those of the left (although, to be honest, the left are normally more humorous.) [Note: this last link is, in fact, a satire site.]

Does This Seem Damning?

I've never taken any journalism classes, but I imagine that one thing they'd teach you is how to "grab" your audience by making the opening as spicy and enticing as possible, to make them want to read the rest of the article. If the actual facts buried later in the article happen to not support the promising beginning, well, at least they've read the article. Or, maybe they haven't, and miss the significance of the actual "facts".
This seems to be what the Miami Herald is going for today in their update to the USS Philadelphia / marine mammal beaching story. [Edit 0814 08 Mar: the above link seems to require registration, but if you link to it from the Google submarine news search page, it logs you in as a guest. Strange...] Here are the first two paragraphs:

"A nuclear-powered submarine used two different types of active sonar to navigate over several days as it trained off the Florida Keys last week, including the day of a massive dolphin stranding in Marathon, the U.S. Navy said late Monday.
"At the time, the submarine was approximately 39 nautical miles southwest of Marathon, where about 80 rough-toothed dolphins -- nearly 30 of which have since died -- beached suddenly late Wednesday."

Hmmm, this sounds pretty clear-cut; the dreaded submarine used not one, but two different types of sonar in a clear case of military overkill. But, if we read farther, we find some more information:

"After it surfaced last Monday [Feb. 28], the Philadelphia used mid-frequency active sonar on its bow in reduced visibility to ''provide for the submarine's ability to avoid potential contact with other vessels at sea'' for a period of 21 minutes, Sommer said.
"On three other days, Feb. 27, March 1 and March 2 -- the day the normally deep-water dolphins mysteriously beached on offshore flats -- the sub used high-frequency active sonar mounted on its sail while it was submerged to help it ''avoid other ships'' before it came to the surface, Sommer said. She did not know how long the high-frequency sonar was used, but said it was ''short duration'' and of low intensity.
High-frequency sonar is considered to have a shorter range than medium frequency or low frequency. Factors like water temperature and salinity can also affect how far the sound travels

So, now we learn that the only time the sub used it's MF (bow-mounted) sonar was two days before the grounding, on the two days before the grounding, used only short range sail-mounted HF sonar while clearing baffles to come to PD, several dozen miles from the grounding site. Of course, I suppose it's possible that the poor dolphins were right under the ship when it surfaced on Feb. 28th, and swam around disoriented for two days before beaching themselves; or, maybe they are more sensitive to the low power HF sonar (unlikely, but presented as a possibility anyway). The article in the Herald certainly doesn't go out of its way to try to spin it in the Navy's direction -- if fact, one could surmise that the spin is kind of anti-submarine, if you read the many paragraphs I didn't excerpt.

Also, from WillyShake, here's an op-ed that is so clearly one sided that I'm sure you'll have no problem figuring out if this person thinks the U.S. military is good or bad...

Staying at PD...

Update 1249 09 March: Here's an article from the CBS News Early Show that's actually fairly unbiased; even though they mention only sonar as a possible cause, they do say that it's only one of many possible causes, and notes that the Philly was quite a ways from the grounding:

"Pamela Sweeney, the Stranding Director for the Marine Animal Rescue Society, explained to The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm that sonar is "just one of many theories about why animals strand. And from what I understand, that Navy ship was near Key West, which is quite a ways away from where these guys were.
"(Sonar signals can) cause these animals to rise to the surface sooner than they would normally. So, in essence they have what in humans would be the bends. And that can be fatal or cause hemorrhaging. So that definitely throws them off, and we can look for evidence of that. But right now, it's just one of many theories."

Monday, March 07, 2005

This Is Getting Ridiculous

Maybe it's the weekend news cycle, but the U.S. government is pretty slow at answering the ridiculous charges appearing in the Italian media, and parroted in the U.S. media, about the shooting of the freed Italian hostage (background over at Ninme's place). Notwithstanding the caterwauling from the moonbats, the U.S. policy of "actually investigating what happened before making statements" seems to be causing the news to be monopolized by the anti-American version. Here's what someone who wasn't even in Baghdad had to say:
" Saturday, the left-leaning Il Manifesto accused U.S. forces of "assassinating" Calipari.
Sgrena's partner, Pierre Scolari, also blamed the shooting on the U.S. government, suggesting the incident was intentional.
"I hope the Italian government does something because either this was an ambush, as I think, or we are dealing with imbeciles or terrorized kids who shoot at anyone," he said, according to Reuters."

Let's look through the charge that the U.S. was attempting to "assassinate" the reporter, and did assassinate the Italian officer. Apparently, the car carrying the freed hostage, Giuliana Sgrena, was driving towards BIAP (Baghdad International Airport). At some point, a group of Americans opened fire on the car, apparently firing 300-400 rounds. The driver and Sgrena were wounded, and the Italian officer, Nicola Calipari, was killed by a single bullet to the head. Sgrena says that they weren't at a checkpoint, but:
"In an interview with Sky TV, Sgrena said "feeling yourself covered with avalanche of gunfire from a tank that is beside you, that did not give you any warning that it was about to attack if we did not stop -- this is absolutely inconceivable even in normal situations, even if they hadn't known that we were there, that we were supposed to come through.' "

So, it's not a checkpoint, but there's a "tank" beside them... sounds like a checkpoint to me. That's not the important part. All of the conspiracy theories claim that the Americans wanted to kill Sgrena because of some vital information that she would share with the world upon her release -- something along the lines of the use of napalm in Fallujah or something. At this point, let's bring in the words of guest moonbat Kurt Nimmo to continue the conspiracy. (Kurt, by the way, doesn't think we tried to kill Sgrena; he thinks we only wanted to wound her to send a message to progressive journalists.)

Note the “driver twice called the embassy” and Sgrena’s description of the road as one “heavily patrolled by U.S. troops,” negating the probability of a resistance attack. As for the calls to the embassy, these were obviously monitored by the U.S. military as it can be assumed all calls, especially from cells phones, are monitored in Iraq.

Yes, the invincibility of the U.S. military. Not only does the U.S. military monitor all cell phone calls in Iraq, but they also disseminate all information about them out to all patrols instantaneously. Also, his description of the road being completely safe is somewhat at odds with this LA Times report attempting to describe what a quagmire we'd fallen into.
Here's the truth. The U.S. military does do a better job at communicating information than any similarly-sized organization in the world. That being said, not everything is immediately passed to everyone. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that all of the checkpoints had been informed that the car was coming through. Suppose this was a random patrol. Let's assume that they had passed the information over the general radio frequency that this car was coming. Yes, everyone is supposed to be listening at all times, but trust me, sometimes important radio messages get missed. Is this more likely, or is it more likely that the U.S. attempted to kill Sgrena, but when they didn't kill her in the first attack, decided to take her to an American military hospital? Why leave a witness? Why not put a bullet in her head then, or have her "die" on the operating table? Those who argue any other way are simply grasping at straws in trying to prove that America is to blame for all the world's ills.

Staying at PD...

Update 1711 07 Mar: Blackfive has much, much more on this from an Army perspective. Also, from the comments, here's an informative article on TCPs (traffic control points) in Iraq.